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Morten Harket - Symphony Hall, Birmingham

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The last time Morten Harket performed in Birmingham it was at the huge NEC as part of A-ha's farewell tour in 2010.

Morten Harket

Symphony Hall, Birmingham, 14/05/12

The last time Morten Harket performed in Birmingham it was at the huge NEC as part of A-ha's farewell tour in 2010.

I remarked at the time how young he looked for a man entering his fifties.

A year and a half later he's back and, apart from glasses, he still looks ridiculously young for his age. It's just possible that he's gotten even younger as time has gone by.

Some parts of his audience are certainly more youthful. There were fans who have followed him for nearly 30 years and some who were not even born when A-ha were at their peak.

Harket seems more relaxed too. He never spoke much at the NEC, but at the smaller Symphony Hall you couldn't shut him up as he chatted between songs and shook hands with those fans who managed to get to the front before ruthless Symphony Hall staff made them sit down again.

And he seemed genuinely touched by the affection as he and his band played his old hits, album tracks and new songs which, it has to be said, don't deviate too far from the A-ha template - which is no bad thing at all.

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The voice remains strong, and it appears almost effortless the way he can switch from a throaty growl to a piercing shriek and back again.

If I was going to make a criticism it's that he played a few too many slow songs, such as Stay on These Roads and Move to Memphis, rather than the poppy songs, such as Riding the Crest, that he and A-ha did so brilliantly.

But the audience loved him - someone even threw a pair of Bridget Jones-style big pants on to the stage.

No prizes for guessing the song that closed the second encore of his 90-minute set - but it sent the crowd home very happy indeed.

Andrew Owen

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